Disclaimer: As their parent, I am choosing to share the adoption stories of my children, Nalandson and Dalencia. Being in the public eye, Hunter and I have often received many questions regarding our children’s background, our plans for our family, and our stance on adoption. And although we welcome these questions, we hope that this section of my blog may provide a fuller story of our family and may also be a resource for those seeking information about adoption.
As you can tell, these two little ones above don’t look a whole lot like the hubs and me.
So how did that happen, right?
I used to tell people it all started because of love…because Hunter and I loved Haiti…because we loved and therefore moved to this one particular orphanage…and then because Dalencia (girl) fell in love with us and we couldn’t help but fall in love with her too. But recently I have come to realize that our story of adoption has roots far deeper than just the romantic love side of things (Which makes a good story, but misses the full complexity of the truth).
Our story does start with love, but not the love of our own. Instead I am speaking of Nalandson and Dalencia’s biological parents. They loved each other and wanted to start a family together. Nalandson was born first, and then a little less than two years later came Dalencia. With Dalencia’s birth, however, came severe complications for her mother. Within a few months she passed away due to multiple infections.
Shortly after her mother passed Dalencia also became very ill. Only just a few months old, she was severely malnourished and had multiple skin infections that covered her body from head to toe. It was at this time that Dalencia’s extended family recommended her father to take Dalencia to an orphanage in the nearest city.
We moved to Haiti when Dalencia was two years old. We knew her from our previous visits to the orphanage, but never spent much time with her until lived on compound. When we got there she had gained some weight, but was developing rather slowly. Her skin infections were still there and she had multiple ear infections a month. Daily, while the older kids were at school, Dalencia would find her way into our house for some good old TLC, and slowly but surely the three of us fell in love. She moved in with us in June of 2011.
We met Nalandson in the summer of 2012 when, he too, was brought to the orphanage by their biological father who could no longer care for him. Growing up a part almost all of their lives, we knew that if we were going to be committed to Dalencia we also needed to be committed to Nalandson as well. And so in December of 2012, Nalandson also became a part of our family.
THE EMOTIONAL SIDE
I won’t lie to you and say all of this is easy. Waiting to adopt my own children is ridiculously difficult. Not being able to travel home with them, raise them around my family, and give them all the experiences I want them to have pains me on a daily basis.
And their biological father… I won’t lie and tell you that I don’t think about him often…because I do. I am raising another man’s children and calling them my own. Nalandson is the spitting image of his father. He will grow up to look just like him. And Dalencia, well, she must look like her mother although I have never seen a picture of her.
I know I haven’t even begun the strenuous, expensive, and lengthy adoption process that soon awaits Hunter and me. Nevertheless, I have been raising my kids for a few years now, in their birth culture at that, so I do know a thing or two when it comes to adoption.
HOW I FEEL ABOUT ADOPTION
First of all, adoption is not for everyone. It is not all about that happy airport scene when the kid comes home to America for the first time. Adoption is full of attachment issues (for you and the child), abandonment questions, “why is your skin color different than mine” questions, and dealing with the fact that your kid may not want hug you…ever…or they may never want to let you go. You just never know what emotions the day may bring!
Now on the other hand, God can make adoption beautiful. Despite how difficult it is, scripture says that God puts the lonely into families (Psalm 68:5-6). And if your child is one of those lonely orphans and if you are one of those chosen families, He will guide you through the process and He will make it beautiful. Trust me!
I believe full heartedly that Nalandson and Dalencia were two such children and that Hunter and I were the family God chose for them. We have overcome many obstacles with our two little ones, and I am positive we will have many more as times goes on, but God is faithful.
Hunter and I often have people tell us how lucky Nalandson and Dalencia are to have us as parents. And although I know that compliment is completely genuine, it is not by luck that they are my children. Death, poverty, and sin- that is why my children no longer live with their birth family. And God’s grace and mercy- those are the only reasons why they are now a part of my family instead. There is nothing lucky about what my children had to go through to get to us- Dalencia’s chronic illnesses and neglect as a baby and Nalandson enduring the death of his mom as an infant and then having to hear multiple times from his father that he was no longer wanted. No, luck has had nothing to do with the formation of our family. I wish my little ones never had to endure the tragedies that they did, even if they would ultimately lead them to me.
In conclusion, I am overly thankful for the ability to adopt. Nalandson and Dalencia are the cutest little ones I think God has ever made, and the fact that He is allowing me to call them my own is a privilege I don’t at all believe I deserve. In this world, there will always be orphans, and those orphans will always need homes. For them, I call on the church to do its job to adopt them and support the families who are adopting them- nationally and internationally.
But I also urge us to be carful when it comes to adoption. After all, these are lives we are talking about, families we are participating in separating. In many cases, adoption is the best solution for the child. But in some cases, there are other solutions to keep families together (i.e. empowering moms with job skills so they can support their child and poverty can not be an excuse for creating an orphan). I am pro-adoption. 100%. But I am also pro-orphan prevention. And that idea (preventing children from becoming orphans and supporting families to stay together) is something I am learning more about each day.
My view on adoption and orphan care is a work in progress. God is opening my eyes to new truths, new solutions, and even new abuses to the system every day. And for that I am thankful. May He continue to break my heart for what breaks His and continue to give me the wisdom about how He wants His children to be cared for.
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HAITI NATIONAL ADOPTION TIMELINE
- June 15, 2011- Dalencia moved into our house
- December 30, 2012- Nalandson moved into our house
- June 2013- Received legal guardianship for both Nalandson and Dalencia
- October 21, 2015- Hunter turned 30. Now legally eligible to start the adoption process.
- December 13, 2015- Adoption dosser submitted to IBESR
- October 12, 2016- Exit IBESR
- November 21, 2016- Exit Parquet court
- December 12, 2016- Exit MOI
- January 05, 2017- Received passports
- January 27, 2017- N-600K application (Certificate of U.S. Citizenship) received at USCIS
- April 11, 2017- Visa approval
- (STILL WAITING FOR DATE)- N-600K appointment and Nalandson and Dalencia become U.S. citizens